The reactions to Governor Abbott’s Jade Helm 15 letter – which played into the irrational fears of his political base while questioning the loyalty and integrity of U.S. military personnel assigned to participate in the training mission – are not mixed. They are almost uniformly opposed.
In recent days, former Governor Perry, former Lt. Governor Dewhurst (both veterans), respected senior Republican U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry, respected former Republican State House Member Todd Smith and other public officials with no partisan axe to grind have all spoken out in defense of the U.S. military and distanced themselves from Governor Abbott’s actions.
The controversy that Governor Abbott has created is not about Republicans and Democrats. It is about Mr. Abbott failing to show respect and give support to our armed forces in a manner befitting a Texas Governor.
Earlier this week, the Texas Democratic Party called on Governor Abbott to apologize:
“The first thing the governor should have done when he heard about concerns with U.S. military trainings is to support our troops and reassure the public that our U.S. military poses absolutely no threat to Texans. Instead, he gave credence to conspiracy theorists by ordering the Texas State Guard to monitor U.S. military operations.
“It’s time for Governor Abbott to admit his mistakes and apologize to the brave men and women of our U.S. military.”
The Governor should not see that as a partisan message. In fact, as a party, Democrats would likely benefit more by Governor Abbott stubbornly refusing to acknowledge and correct such a mistake. However, his stubbornness is not good for Texas, and it is neither fair nor respectful to the men and women serving in the U.S. military.
Whatever Governor Abbott’s motivations for sending his letter and whatever he thought would be accomplished by it, he should acknowledge that it was a mistake and apologize to our U.S. military personnel and to all the citizens of Texas.